Pride Spotlight: Justine Farrar, Head of Logistics

Meet Justine Farrar, Head of Logistics at M&S, who shares her journey of parenthood, her experience as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, and how M&S supports diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Navigating Parenthood

During lockdown, my partner and I made the decision to start a family. In contrast to heterosexual couples, there are extra layers of consideration for gay couples who want to have children - specifically around methods of conception and who will carry the baby. But there are also the “usual” worries around making sure that it was a good decision financially and for us as a couple.

My partner, Ellie, and I decided that I would carry the baby and M&S stood by me every step of the way. I felt supported and valued by my line manager and team throughout my pregnancy journey.

Taking Shared Parental Leave

Shared parental leave was a game-changer for us. It meant that both my partner and I could take time away from our careers to be there at the beginning of our daughter’s life, sharing the caring responsibilities. Although the paperwork to take Shared Parental Leave is arduous, the business supported my decision and, of course, it was absolutely worth it.

M&S offered flexibility and understanding, allowing me to balance my new role as a parent with my responsibilities at work. When I returned to work, I did so on a part-time basis, working 4 days a week. Whether it was phased returns or flexible working arrangements, M&S made sure I had the support I needed to thrive both at home and in the workplace.

Inclusivity at M&S

As a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community and M&S’s LGBTQ+ colleague network, I can honestly say that M&S has been a safe and supportive environment for me. Within the London support centre, I've experienced genuine inclusivity firsthand. This is particularly noticeable within my area of the business, Supply Chain & Logistics, which is predominantly seen as a male-dominated industry but we’re continuing to work to make our teams more diverse. While challenges still exist for the LGBTQ+ community societally, M&S continues to make strides in fostering inclusivity and understanding across the board.

Over the years, I've witnessed a significant shift in our company culture, with inclusivity at the forefront of our values. It's this genuine dedication that sets M&S apart as an employer where everyone, regardless of background, is made to feel valued and respected.

I’m grateful that my career at M&S has been one of growth, support, and inclusion. I'm proud to work for a company that values diversity and strives to create a workplace where everyone can thrive through all of life’s milestones.

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